Whether you use Pinterest for personal use or for a business, optimising your keyword research, SEO, and investing in Pinterest Ads is the best approach to increase your followers and therefore, outreach and sales.  With over 416 million visitors per month, every Pin not only has a great potential to boost your brand but also lives up to 1,600 times longer than a Facebook ad.  So, if you want to tap into this potential, read this full Pinterest keyword research and advertising guide for the ultimate Pinterest strategy for your business.

Table of contents

Pinterest and SEO

Before we dive into action, let’s have a look at the broader picture first.  It’s time to stop thinking of Pinterest as a social media platform and more as a search engine.  A visual search engine, and start creating a Pinterest marketing strategy.

Just like Google, Pinterest works hard to show its users what they want to see and even things they didn’t think they wanted or needed to see until they see them.

Pinterest manages to do this by scoring Pins on a variety of factors to determine their rank, a technique otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO)Pinterest’s ranking factors are very similar to Google’s: Pinner quality, domain quality, Pin quality, and topic relevance.

Pinner Quality

This is you.  Pinterest is judging you.  Well…the entity behind the Pins.  It’s good to have creative and attractive Pins, but it is also important to back up the brand behind it.  If the Pinner seems like an unprofessional business, unverified, or does not interact much with others, Pinterest will most likely lower the Pinner quality’s score.

Domain Quality

Pinterest thinks beyond the Pin.  Its users are like its children and Pinterest wants to make sure that once its children click on a Pin that directs them to a third party website, they have an optimal experience.  If the landing page of the third-party website is slow (3 seconds or more), domain quality will be low.  Since 82% of Pinners use the site on their mobile phones, it’s important that the landing page they have clicked on is also mobile-friendly.

Pin Quality

In everyone’s best interest, Pins need to be unique, captivating, and informative (if they are trying to sell something).  The images or videos a Pinner chooses need to be of high quality, fit the Pin specifications, and all in all, be appealing to viewers.  Without all of these attributes, your Pin quality score isn’t reaching its maximum potential.

Topic Relevance

If a clothing brand decides to advertise on Pinterest and only has Pins of dogs, Pinterest will immediately question the relevance.  In order for Pins and Pinners to rank well, there needs to be a clear correlation between the Pins and its homepage.

When taking all of these factors into consideration, Pinterest will have the necessary information to give your brand an overall score which will then determine your rank amongst others on the site.

6 Steps to the Perfect Pinterest SEO With Keyword Research

Now that you have the Pinterest SEO factors laid out, here is how you can optimise your own page and get it ranking high, increasing your traffic and upping your followers.

Business or Personal?

If you are a new Pinterest user and you do not yet have a page, think about what kind of Pinterest account you wish to open: business or personal? (To advertise your business by using Pinterest Ads for paid ads, open up a business account).  If you are happy to promote your business or yourself without paying, open up a personal account.  (*note – if you already have a personal account, it is possible to change it to a business account without creating a new one).  Read our post here on how to set up your own Pinterest Business account.

Establish your Brand

Before getting anyone to come and see what you offer, you or your business needs an established brand.  Your profile is your mirror and this is where you set up your Pinner quality.

When setting up your profile, think keywords, keywords, keywords.  Put keywords in your name and in your bio.  Don’t be afraid to layer them thick but remember to keep them relevant for that relevance like Kristabel down below!  She’s incorporated keywords such as “fashion”, “lifestyle” “travel”, “London” and “afro” in her name and her bio.

Pinterest profile with keywords

Pinterest also suggests that you claim your site.  By doing so, your profile picture will appear on every Pin you upload no matter where it ends up (on other people’s Pinterest boards as repins).

Also, you will have access to analytics so you can better target your audience in the future and there will always be a small globe sign (see Kristabel’s profile) on the picture for people to have access to your website.  Learn how to claim your website here

Additionally, try to get Pinterest users to engage with your product as quickly as possible by adding a call-to-action (CTA) in your bio.

Create your entourage

As Oprah Winfrey once said: “Surround yourself with those who only lift you higher.”  Your Pinterest page will never stand alone; it will always stand as one amongst others.  Follow other pages that rank well, are similar to yours, or individuals who have promoted your brand as a thank you.  Create a small community around your page and make it feel welcoming to users.  This plays well for Pinner quality.

Various boards on a Pinterest page

Pin visual

What separates Pinterest as a search engine from Google: visuals.  Yes, Google has an images tab, but that is not its main focus.  For Pinterest, it’s all about the imagery, and in order for a Pin to stand out, it needs to draw in its user’s vision.  This step requires research.

Find out which colours work best (let me save you a step: red and orange are the most repined colours on Pinterest), avoid landscape pins, stick to the original Pin ratio…read this article we put together that contains some handy tips for the ultimate Pin.   You can also check out what Pinterest suggests are the best practices for visually stimulating Pins.

Give your Pins a chance to score well on Pin quality but also remember relevancy.  Don’t post a picture of a beautiful sunset just because it looks nice, make sure it links well with your brand.

Side note: organise your Pins into various boards.  You will find that some Pins work together based on themes (maybe various collections if you are selling clothing or by items).  Group all Pins that are similar to each other on the same Pinterest boards to create a sense of organisation on your page and facility for users looking for similar products.

Pin text a.k.a Keywords

Keywords, keywords, keywords.  Just like when you were establishing your brand, any text that accompanies your Pin must be filled with keywords.  Pinterest gives you 500 characters in the description box.  Use them, make them count, add keywords, and raise your Pin quality and relevance score.  However, before writing any text, do some keyword research.  Here is some help on how to do specific Pinterest keyword research:

Pinterest Keyword Research Ideas

Pinterest search bar

When you type in a keyword, it will automatically give you related long tail keywords that people search regularly.  Have a look at what these various keywords bring you to and whether or not they may be applicable to your Pins.  Remember: the more accurate the keyword (long tail keywords), the more organic traffic you will receive. Short tail keywords will give you irrelevant blog traffic.

Pinterest Ads Management

If you have a Pinterest business account, you have access to an easy keyword research tool.  When creating your ad groups, go down to the keywords section and type in a keyword.  From there, you will see suggested alternatives and their recent performances on the platform.

Remember to use these keywords not only as words that will make your Pins appear when someone searches for them but also put them in your Pin name and description!

SEMrush

If you do not have a Pinterest business account, you can use this alternative keyword tool: SEMrush. It is a complete online keyword researching platform that gathers information from all social media platforms.  They even tell you which keywords perform better in which countries.  They have a free trial period that is worth trying.

Once you have done your keyword research, you can start integrating them into your Pin names, description, hashtags, and even .jpeg!  Enable rich pins as well to sync information from your site automatically onto your Pins and fill their descriptions with keywords.

Post regularly

Pinterest wants engaged and reliable Pinners on their site.  The more you post, the more ‘new and original’ content you are providing to users.  Try to post something daily (does not have to be your own material, repins work too).  You can use the Tailwind app to give you advice on when to schedule your posts depending on user behaviours and your content.

If you are running out of content ideas for some fresh content, take a look at some similar Pinterest users for some trends. Don’t forget to take a look at the board descriptions and pin description as well for some new keywords and additional ideas. You may not have to copy their keywords, but you can look into some related terms.

Pinterest Ads for an Optimal Marketing Strategy

You may have already decided that you want to advertise on Pinterest, but here are some additional insights into why you have made the right choice.

There are almost half a billion users on Pinterest.  Although it is a large market, there are currently only 1.5 million brands advertising on its site, which means roughly one brand for every 330,000 users.  If a company targets the right audience, it has the potential of having its very own 330,000 user audience free of competition.  The perfect scenario: large market, low competition.

Additionally, Pinterest users have ideal purchasing habits:

  • 98% of users have tried new things after having used the site
  • 50% made a purchase off of one of the brands they saw advertised
  • 93% plan their purchases based on items they saw on Pinterest

When a user likes a Pin, they pin it on their own board.  Once the Pin is on their board, they will see it over and over again.  The users convert themselves into a business’ very own remarketing strategy without having to do anything.  Furthermore, the repined Pin is then viewed by all the followers of that user, extending the ad’s reach.

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Where to start with Pinterest ads

Before reading on, note that Pinterest Ads is not yet available in all countries.  Check this list to see if it is available in yours.

Pinterest Ads’ platform is very similar to Google Ads, so if you have any experience with the latter, you will be pinning in no time.  If on top of that you have a personal Pinterest account, this process will be a breeze.

1. Create a Pinterest Business account

Pinterest has two types of accounts available to the public: personal or business.  In order to advertise, you will need to create a business account.  If you have a personal account and wish to convert it into your principal business account, you can! Simply use your personal or business email address to get it all started.

 2. Campaigns and Objectives

Start by creating one campaign.  On the homepage of your Pinterest Business account, click on ads – create ad.  This will bring you to choose your campaign objective.

Objectives will determine how you bid in ad auctions and the types of ad formats best suited to your objectives.  Before you select your business objectives, make sure you have a business plan where you have laid out your marketing goals and what you expect from your advertisements.  Pinterest’s five campaign objective are:

  • Brand awareness – best for businesses who want to increase their visibility of products and services, and awareness to potential new clients.  Bidding = manual maximum CPM (cost per thousand clicks)
  • Video view – ideal for businesses who prefer video montages.  Pinterest offers quality targeting to find those best suited to watch your videos.  Bidding = manual maximum CPV (cost per view) for 2 seconds or more of video played
  • Consideration – Drive clicks on your ads. Bidding = Automated or manual CPC (cost per click) Note: This is the only campaign objective that allows for a campaign-level budget, the rest require budgets at the ad group level (read on).
  • Conversions – For businesses who already have enough visibility and who want their viewers to start taking action (subscribing, purchasing, signing up…).  Bidding = Automated or manual CPA (cost per acquisition)
  • Shopping catalogues – Gain visibility when Pinterest users are looking for similar ideas.  Bidding = Manual CPC or oCPM (optimised cost per thousand) where you also set target CPA.

Now that you have created your campaign(s) and decided on your objective, you can start building your ad groups.

3. Ad groups

If you are unfamiliar with the difference between a campaign and an ad group, imagine that a campaign is like the winter collection of a clothing brand and the ad groups are the various items of clothing e.g. shirts, trousers, shoes, etc. who will each represent their own ad group.

Each ad group will need its own targeting strategy, audience list, keywords and interests, demographics, ad placement, and budget (unless the campaign is running under a Consideration objective).  It may seem like an overwhelming amount of information, but Pinterest makes it very simple to follow.  This is also what will help your ads be at the right place at the right time in front of the right user.

For keywords and interests, Pinterest has a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 200,000 keywords.  The broader the keyword, the more competition your ads will face e.g. “trousers”.  However, more precise keywords will appear to users actively researching your kinds of products e.g. “blue winter trousers”.  Pinterest keywords work like Google Ads keywords with broad, phrase, exact, and negative matches.

4. Ads

If a campaign is the winter collection of a clothing brand, and the ad groups are the types of clothing (coats), the ads are individual items of clothing e.g. black, knee length coat, white polyester coat etc.  On Pinterest, an ad = a Pin.  Here are the eight Pins available for advertising:

1. Static Pins and ads – one singular image with a small caption to

2. Standard width video Pins and ads – videos with the same dimensions as regular Pins

3. Max. width video ads – video pin that stretches across the entire user’s feed on mobile.

4. App install ads – one singular image with the possibility to download an app without leaving the Pinterest main page

5. Carousel Pins and ads – multiple images available with swipe through

6. Shopping ads – one image or video with the possibility of purchase. These are also called buyable pins.

7. Collections Pins and ads – one main image with three smaller images underneath on mobile view

8. Story pins – one singular pin with a mix of images, videos, lists, and text

Each Pin has their own specification requirements that you can find here.

A few of these ad types come as paid formats (Max. width video ads and App install ads) but luckily, the others do not.

Once your ads are ready and you are happy with the campaign(s) you can launch it all!

Promoted pins

Once your pins are launched, and you are using a pay-per-click on your selected pins, keep in mind that they will appear somewhere on the top of Pinterest search results pages with the small tag ‘promoted pin’. This is to make the scroller aware that you have paid for your content to appear amongst the first. But don’t worry, this won’t stop people from clicking on your items. 1 in 2 people has bought an item after having seen promoted pins.

Rich Pins

It’s a hassle to have to update your pins or create new pins every time you change or release a new product on your website. This is why Pinterest has created rich pins where pins are automatically updated or even created based on your website content.

Not only will the content be directly taken from your website, but it will also be shown to the correct target audience.

Rich pins are one of Pinterest ads’ top best practices and need to know advertising strategies because there will never be a promotion, new product, or announcement that won’t be released.

Tips for your ads

Pinterest Pins are not the usual kind of advertisements that companies are used to.  Just like with any platform, knowing your audience and the behaviours associated with the platform are key.  Before embarking on the design of your Pins, take note of these tips:

Vertical Vertical Vertical

The general trend of Pins is vertical and Pins with a ratio of 2:3 to 4:5 are 60% more likely to be repined than others.

No faces

It may seem like an odd tip, but avoid putting faces in Pinterest ads.  Faceless pins have a 23% better chance of getting repined than those with a smiling model.

Text overlay

Although Pinterest is mostly about imagery, overlay some text over the visuals.  It can be as simple as a short slogan or your brand name but text can go a long way.

Topic of the day

There is an algorithm that suggests that different categories have different levels of popularity on different days of the week.  Sunday is for Food & Craft, Monday is Fitness, Tuesday is Technology, Wednesday is Quotes, Thursday is Fashion, Friday in Humour, and Saturday is Travel.  Launch your pins on the day of the week that suits it best.

Timing

Every social media platform has its ‘peak hours’; the hours when there is the most traffic.  To give your Pin the best chance at visibility, post between 2PM and 4PM or 8PM and 1AM.  The best day of the week is Saturday.  You can schedule your pins to launch via your account.

The best performing Pins are the ones that keep up with the current trends.  Your trendy Pin has a 94% chance of increase in CTR (click-through-rate) if it is related to trending topics.  An easy way to look for trending topics is on your Pinterest’s analytics.

Pinterest worthy words

Check out this list of Pinterest’s most repined words.  Don’t use these words as keywords (as they may not be relevant to your product), but incorporate them in your overlay or description text to attract users.  In addition, try to keep descriptions between 150 and 350 words.

 

Conclusion

Hopefully, by now, you have the secret recipe to optimising your SEO and Pinterest keyword research and who knows, maybe your page or business will go viral!  Remember that research is a key component of any SEO optimisation strategy.

Don’t panic if you don’t start seeing results immediately. You may have to wait months before your hard work starts to show and your pins receive more traffic. However, if you feel like you might need some help along the way, get in contact with one of our qualified social media agencies.